Spring-Like Storm System Targets Mississippi, Ohio Valleys Today

Severe Weather Threat Exists across Kansas, Oklahoma to Near Virginia
Kansas City, Mo., Monday, Feb. 28, 2011 – NOAA forecasters said a strong spring-like storm system will move from the Lower Mississippi River Valley into the Ohio River Valley today, bringing widespread precipitation to the eastern third of the country. The system will draw warm, moist, unstable air from the Gulf of Mexico, setting the stage for strong to severe thunderstorms over a large area of the southern Plains and Southeast. Up to 1-2 inches of rain can be expected over a sizeable area of the Midwest that had to contend with heavy rain and severe weather through the weekend.
There is a threat of heavy snow in the Pacific Northwest (parts of Washington, Oregon, California, Idaho and Montana) and northern New England. Light to moderate snow is expected to track across the Midwest and Great Lakes to the Eastern Seaboard. Severe weather is expected for much of the Southeast.
See today’s Hazards Map at http://www.weather.gov/largemap.php and the Hydrometeorological Prediction
Center weather threats map at http://www.hpc.ncep.noaa.gov/noaa/noaa.gif.
Forecasters at NOAA’s Storm Prediction Center have identified areas of Moderate to Slight risk of severe weather development today, with some Kentucky locations having already seen tornado warnings this morning.
A Moderate Risk exists for central and southern Kentucky, Central Tennessee, extreme northeast Mississippi, northern Alabama, northern Georgia and extreme southwestern North Carolina. A slight risk exists for immediately surrounding areas of those states along with parts of Illinois, Missouri, Arkansas, Louisiana, Indiana, Ohio, West Virginia, South Carolina, Pennsylvania and the Florida Panhandle. See severe weather graphic at http://www.spc.noaa.gov/products/outlook/day1otlk.html.
Conditions will be favorable for tornado development, and forecasters said strong tornadoes could occur with rotating cells embedded in squall lines. Louisville and Jackson, Ky., forecast offices had already issued tornado warnings early this morning.
The at-risk area for today is slightly to the east of severe weather activity that took place Sunday. The Storm Prediction Center received 5 tornado reports, 55 reports of large hail and 95 reports of damaging winds Sunday. Tornadoes were reported in Cowley and Chautauqua counties in Kansas, Franklin and St. Louis counties in Missouri and in Fayette County in Illinois.
There were numerous reports of 1-1.75-inch hail across parts of Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, Missouri, Illinois and Indiana. There were also numerous reports of 60-70 mph winds over the same area with the peak wind reported at 87 mph in Hannibal, Mo. See http://www.spc.noaa.gov/climo/reports/yesterday.html.
The repeat heavy precipitation is beginning to push some rivers above flood stage and has resulted in numerous Flood Warnings, Watches and Advisories from the Dakotas, Iowa and Missouri across the Midwest and the Great Lakes to central New York and eastern Pennsylvania. According to NOAA’s Advanced Hydrologic Prediction Service, some level of flooding was underway this morning at 78 river gauge sites, mostly concentrated in Missouri, Arkansas, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio and Kentucky. See graphics at http://water.weather.gov/ahps/index.php?stage=7.
Additional information from local National Weather Service forecast staffs may be reached by selecting the desired area on the national map at http://weather.gov.
Contact: Public Affairs Specialist Patrick Slattery (816) 268-3135

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